Above the waste allotments the dawn halts

My Sunday allotmenteering was a bit less merry last week, as I discovered that my rake had been nicked. I was quite sad. I’d weighed up the risks and considered it unlikely, due to the difficulty of getting over the fences and the fact that it only cost a fiver (and very much looked like it did too). I suppose it was good that I’d not invested a lot of money in it, or become emotionally attached.

I have taken defensive measures, though:

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I was far too stubborn to admit I couldn’t carry the box that this box arrived in. I got a lift with it from work to my house, which was excellent, but then walked from my house to my allotment, as I’d evidently imagined I’d grown to twice my actual height and become three times stronger. But it’s assembled now, having nearly taken my thumb off. I’m still a little bit worried. A determined thief could break in, obviously – but then, a determined thief could also break into a lot of things if they think there’s something worth taking. In this case, all that’s takeable is a bent fork, a hoe and a spade. You wouldn’t think it’d be worth it. Fingers crossed.

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I unearthed an old hammer during my digging today, and tomorrow I’m thinking of buying a load of nails in the morning and making a start on that massive pile of wood you’ll see at the back of the allotment, to the left. I was thinking of using some of it to build up the raised beds, and some of it to construct a better compost pile than my current ‘coffee grounds on planks of wood’ effort, that’s more like an art installation than actual composting.

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The very first thing I planted on the allotment, the strawberries I was kindly donated by a lady on Freecycle, have been doing pretty well. I’m not sure if it’s because I planted mustard between them, which is supposed to be a good idea, but after a shaky start, they’ve perked up.

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There’s not a huge amount happening on the balcony garden, other than some things that look a BIT like squashes have started to grow. I’m worried they’ll suffer in the frost and might have to put blankets round them, or something. Besides the potatoes, I don’t think I’ll have much else edible growing over the winter. I’ve picked almost all the tomatoes now – very few went red, so I’ve been wrapping them up in newspaper with a banana, which seems to have worked. Ate some of them in a pad thai for my tea, which was excellent. I think next year, I’ll have fewer edible things up on the balcony – I wouldn’t try radishes or cauliflower or carrots again. I probably will try cucumbers, as they were a success, but I think it’ll mostly be flowers.

My friend Rhian, who may be partly to blame with my allotment obsession, suggested that to deter thieves, I use exploding cucumbers. I didn’t realise there’s such a thing as exploding cucumbers! There’s a lot I want to try (most of it on that website), and once the allotment’s in a state where it can handle polytunnels, I’m going to experiment.

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